Tag Archive for Ephesians 3:20-21

Divine Coincidence

Have you discovered that Almighty God wants to take part in your daily work? Here’s one example from my own experience.

Matching a hymn text with the right tune can be tricky, painstaking business. But years ago I began receiving tune ideas from the Lord. Sometimes I would hear an original tune in my head. Other times I would feel prompted toward a folk or classical tune in one of my sources. I would set the tune aside in my “pending” pile, put it out of my mind, and go on with my work.

Then within days the Lord would give me a lyric idea separately, from my Bible study or from an audio book I was listening to. Sometimes it happened the other way around. The text idea would come first, then the tune.

What was amazing was how often I’d find the perfect match for the text or tune there near the top of my “pending” file. I had forgotten about the first one until the second showed up and I went looking for a mate. The two had come to me entirely separately, though in the same time frame.

At first, I considered it mere coincidence. But it began to happen so regularly that I coined a term for it: divine coincidence.

But it wasn’t just texts and tunes that came together so marvelously. Often a thought or scripture would come to me from my daily reading or listening that was exactly what I needed for some current writing endeavor. I hadn’t gone looking for it. It just jumped out at me.

Some would explain such phenomenon as the subconscious working of the mind. And I can’t claim to explain all the workings of this amazing brain the Lord has given us.

But God regularly uses divine coincidence to remind me that He deeply, personally, constantly cares about my daily activities. My work is His work, and He doesn’t abandon me to it. He works beside me all day, every day. The Spirit of the sovereign, almighty, universal God works through me. He will work through you as well. How wonderful is that!

Father, all our work is Your work. Keep us open. Keep us listening. Keep us dependent on You.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NASB)

More than You Can Imagine 2

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

Conventional wisdom is that you can achieve anything you choose by setting goals, working hard, and believing in yourself. In God’s service, my experience has in some ways been the opposite: release personal goals; focus your confidence in God, not yourself; and stay flexible in His hands.

I’ve found that getting beyond our own agendas and abilities expands our horizons. In many respects, dependence on Him frees us from our personal limitations.

At various times in my life, I thought, “I will only write classical music”. Then, “I will only write lyrics.” Then, “I will only write hymns.” But staying available to Him has led me into many other areas: devotional books; evangelistic materials; Sunday School curriculum; teaching. Six days a week I post a short devotional thought on Facebook. This blog was another step of faith which I could never have foreseen just a few years ago.

Stay open to God’s surprises. I find that very few of my hymns are planned. I don’t sit down to write them. God blind-sides me with delightful inspirations and opportunities. I’ve find that He is indeed “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). His work through us need not be limited by our ambitions, abilities, or imagination. The limits are “his power that is at work within us”.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Serving God is wonderful and exciting freedom—freedom from self-dependence, freedom from binding ambitions, freedom from narrow, self-centered horizons. Serving Him is freedom to simply follow. It is being “workers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9) as He saves people from their sin and draws them to Himself. It is constant availability, learning not to “live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV).

More than You Can Imagine

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

The conventional wisdom is this: You can achieve anything you choose if you work hard enough and believe in yourself.

As a servant of God, that has not been my experience.

Yes, it is energizing to be inflamed with a goal and a purpose. And hard work and confidence are necessary if we are to press ahead through innumerable discouragements.

But in God’s service I’ve experienced three crucial differences:

1.       Rather than “achieving anything you choose,” I’ve had to give up all personal ambitions. Repeated setbacks have forced me to recommit myself–to release each personal goal and hope for achievement. My ambition has been reduced to this: I only want God’s purpose to be accomplished, whatever it is.

2.       I’ve had to lose faith in my own abilities and believe only in God’s ability and faithfulness. He’s thrown me in so far over my head that I’ve had to just cling to Him. I am confident, but I’m confident in God, not myself.

3.       Instead of pressing toward one long-term goal, shoving everything else aside, I’ve discovered how vital it is to simply trust and obey Him one hour at a time, one task at a time. I don’t know what He will lead me to do 15 minutes from now. My job is to stay tuned to Him, to stay willing and available.

What is the result of all this? More next time.